Slow Dose Countdown


A woman with asthma stopped by a pharmacy to talk with a pharmacist about her Pulmicort Flexhaler (budesonide inhalation powder). After trying many times to take her medicine, the woman said it felt like the inhaler was not working. The inhaler keeps track of how many doses are left (see photo). But the number on the dose counter did not seem to be moving.

The woman was unable to see or feel anything when she used the inhaler, so she did not think that she was getting the medicine. The pharmacist checked to make sure the inhaler was working correctly. In doing so, he called the company that makes the inhaler, AstraZeneca, and was told that the dose counter moves very slowly.  pulmicort

The dose counter is labeled in multiples of 20 (i.e., 60-40-20-0) (see photo), so actual movement of the counter is hard to see. An exact countdown of each dose does not occur. AstraZeneca changed its patient information leaflet to let consumers know that it is unlikely that the inhaler's dose indicator will move with each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about how many doses are left in your inhaler.

Reviewed and updated August 25, 2021

Created on November 1, 2007

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